Designing Learning Experiences:

The quality of the learning task influences its learnability and its value for the learner. Tasks that are too easy or too difficult, that are repetitive and mechanical, that are based on recalling the text, that do not permit self-expression and questioning by the child and that depend solely on the teacher for correction, make the child assume the passive stance of obedience. Learners learn not to value their own ability to think and reason, that knowledge is created by others and that they must only receive it. The onus falls teacher to ‘motivate’ children who do not seem to be naturally motivated. Learners accept being controlled and learn to want to control. These are ultimately detrimental to the growth of cognitive self-reflexivity and flexibility which are essential if learning is to empower the learner. By the time they reach Class VII, many children who have grown up in this kind of learning environment, lose their self-confidence and their ability to express themselves or make meaning out of their experiences in school. They repeatedly resort to mechanical rote memorisation to pass examinations.

Instead, tasks that are challenging and allow independent thinking, and multiple ways of being solved, encourage independence, creativity and selfdiscipline in learners. Instead of a culture of quizzing, of answering quickly and always knowing the right answer, we need to allow learners to spend time on deeper, meaningful learning.

Learning tasks that are designed to ensure that children will be encouraged to seek out knowledge from sites other than the textbook, in their own experience, in the experiences of people at home and in the community, in libraries and other sites outside the school, communicate the philosophy that learning and knowledge are to be sought out, authenticated and thereby constructed, and that neither the textbook nor the teacher is an authority. In this context, heritage sites assume great significance as sites of learning. Not only the history teacher, but also teachers of all subjects need to inculcate in the children under their care a sense of respect for sites of archaeological significance and the desire to explore and understand their importance.

There have been efforts aimed at improving the classroom environment and curriculum planning for children in Classes I and II in recent years. While these need to be reviewed and strengthened, there is also a need to engage with questions of designing learning experiences for older children that help them understand concepts and create and ‘own’ the knowledge that they learn. We are now seeing a small shift away from the focus on ‘factual knowledge’, but teacher preparation, planning of classroom practice, textbook preparation, and evaluation need to support this shift more decisively.

There is a need for incorporating flexibility in planning and adapting textbook content to designing topic learning, so as to move towards the NPE-86 goal of breaking out of watertight compartments. For this, it is necessary to build the capabilities and confidence of teachers to autonomously plan their teaching in response to the needs and demands of children’s learning. Currently, pedagogic reform efforts are still very centralised. Effective decentralisation would be possible through the greater involvement of Cluster and Block Resource Centres, the availability of local resource persons, and of resource and reference materials for the use of teachers.
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DSSSB, CTET & KVS Exam Preparation | Clear CTET: Designing Learning Experiences
Designing Learning Experiences
DSSSB, CTET & KVS Exam Preparation | Clear CTET
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